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The Benefits of Good Sleep Hygiene

The Benefits of Good Sleep Hygiene

Posted On: May 21, 2020

If you’ve ever had a bad night’s sleep before, you’ll know how it affects you the following day. You’ll feel irritable and struggle to concentrate, your mind will feel foggy and your eyes will burn. A lack of sleep takes its toll on us all, and unfortunately, a loss of good sleeping hours is not something you can ever really get back.

Disrupted, broken, and irregular sleep over the long-term can have a serious effect on your physical, mental, and emotional health. This is where sleep hygiene plays an integral role in the quality of sleep you get every night.

What are the benefits of establishing good sleep hygiene?

What Exactly is Sleep Hygiene?

Sleep hygiene is determined by your habits before you climb into bed and call it a day. Essentially, it centered on your nighttime routine as well as some of your actions and habits throughout the day.

Good sleep hygiene means that you have made high-quality sleep a priority in your life. Ideally, your bedroom environment is peaceful and conducive to good sleep. You stick to a healthy sleep schedule and follow a pre-bedtime wind-down routine. During the day, you also stick to healthy habits that promote good sleep.

While every person has different needs and daily routines, sleep hygiene should be important in your life — no matter your age. Good sleep hygiene not only helps you to fall asleep but allows you to maintain good rest throughout the night.

What are the Benefits of Good Sleep Hygiene?

Good quality sleep is essential to every single function in your life. Not only when you’re awake, but also when you’re asleep. Getting a good night’s rest sets you up for the day by improving productivity, concentration, physical stamina, and so much more. It’s also important for many of your body’s metabolic and neurological processes.

There are a number of amazing processes that take place that allow us to wake up and feel well-rested:

  • Sleep is essential for brain plasticity — its ability to adapt and process information
  • The pituitary gland releases several hormones, but most importantly, human growth hormone which helps the body to grow and repair itself
  • Your sympathetic nervous system, responsible for fight or flight responses, gets a chance to relax
  • Cortisol, or stress hormone levels decrease
  • The immune system helps to fight off and reduce inflammation throughout the body
  • Muscles relax and get a chance to grow and repair themselves

By practicing good sleep hygiene, you are making your overall health a priority, too. It’s well-known that forming and maintaining good habits is crucial to our health. This is why it’s so important to create a beneficial sleep routine that works for your life and is one that you can stick to.

What are the Signs of Poor Sleep Hygiene?

Many people may actually struggle with putting good sleep hygiene into practice. This is largely because of the busy, stressful lives we live today, poor health habits, and technological distractions. Here are some of the most common symptoms of poor sleep hygiene:

  • You struggle to fall asleep on your own
  • You wake up often throughout the night
  • You suffer from daytime sleepiness
  • A cannot get into a routine of consistently good sleep

The irony with poor sleep hygiene is that it works in a vicious cycle. The poorer your quality of sleep, the more it can affect the following night’s sleep, and so on. This can eventually lead to more serious sleep issues such as:

Sleep Deprivation

This is a serious condition that can a huge effect on your day-to-day life, and even lead to dangerous consequences. Sleep deprivation includes extreme fatigue. You may even nod off during the day at random times or find yourself gaining or losing weight for no reason.

Sleep deprivation also increases your risk of developing long-term illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, obesity, depression, and neurological conditions.

Insomnia

Insomnia is very common amongst adults today and can also have a dire effect on your health. Signs of insomnia include major difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up way before your sleep cycle is finished. Insomnia is so common that it affects more than 30% of adults in the U.S. today.

Chronic insomnia can also lead to poor quality of life and health problems such as depression, anxiety, obesity, and more.

How to Put Good Sleep Hygiene Into Practice

Ultimately, good sleep hygiene is about so much more than what you do 30-minutes before bed. As you can see, the benefits of good sleep hygiene are numerous. It’s about your lifestyle as a whole and how much of a priority good sleep is to you.

In order to practice good sleep hygiene, you need to put yourself in the best position to sleep well every night. This means establishing a healthy sleep schedule that normalizes good sleep and makes it part of your everyday life:

  • Stick to a fixed waking time — yes, even on weekends. A fluctuating schedule may prevent you from getting into a good rhythm of sleep
  • Ensure sleep adjustments are gradual — if you’re trying to get into a good routine, make small sleep adjustments to ease your body into a new sleep and wakeup routine
  • Don’t become dependent on naps — while napping can be a good way to regain some energy, it can throw off your night time sleeping pattern, so don’t overdo it

Preparing for bed is another important factor in good sleep hygiene. Your actions and habits before bedtime can have a huge impact on how quickly you fall asleep and maintain good sleep. Here’s how to set up a healthy bedtime routine:

  • Consistency is key — follow the same bed time ritual each night so that you can reinforce in your mind that it’s time to sleep
  • Remember to wind down before bed — set aside 30-minutes to an hour of wind down time before bed, try stretching, dim the lighting, play soft music, or read a book
  • Try not to toss and turn — if you struggle to fall asleep after 20-minutes, rather get up, stretch, read, or meditate instead of tossing and turning
  • Bye-bye electronics — Make sure to switch off from electronics at least 30-minutes before lights out. This includes cellphones, television, laptops etc.

Remember that electronics have a way of stimulating the mind like nothing else. The blue light from our devices can lead to overstimulation and also decrease the production of melatonin. So switch off in order to facilitate better sleep.

Find Better Sleep with Neurological Wellness Clinic

If you’re struggling with poor sleep hygiene or any other debilitating sleep disorder, Neurological Wellness Clinic is here to help. We offer a sleep center, sleep studies, home, and in-lab sleep tests to help you achieve the high-quality sleep you need.

Request an appointment with our clinic today and get your sleep cycle back on track!

Dr Jochism

Dr. Sean Jochims, Neurologist

Dr. Sean Jochims graduated medical school with the prestigious Rick Wartgow Award for dedication to medicine. He also received Excellence in Teaching Awards as chief resident in neurology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Education
  • Medical School: Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Internship/Internal Medicine: Northwestern University
  • Clinical Neurophysiology Fellowship: Rush Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago
  • Participant at Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine
Board Certifications
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